The Book of Spells
The Book of Spells
Once upon a time an ogre lived in the middle of a deep, dark forest. He was big, extremely cruel, and heartless. Given all of these rather nasty traits, it may be surprising to learn that he liked his house very clean and tidy. So one day he said to himself, “I'm always out hunting, foraging, and tormenting the peasants. I need somebody to clean my house, scrub the floors, wash plates, and do the laundry every week.”
So, out he went and crouched down beside one of the cottages near the edge of the woods that belonged to a family of poor peasants. When he saw their children come out, a boy and a girl, he stretched out his big, warty hand, grabbed them, and carried them away. “You'll be my servants,” he said, “and I will give you your food. But if you try to run away, you will be my food!”
Terrified, the two children agreed, and they lived in the ogre's house for a long time. After some time they noticed that every evening the ogre pulled out a large book, which he would read carefully. It was named, the children noticed,
“Are you sure you know how to cast spells?” asked the girl anxiously.
“Of course!” he said. “Let's go, before the ogre comes back!”
So the pair ran out of the house into the forest.
Suddenly, the girl cried out, “I can hear somebody running! The ogre's following us!”
The ogre was determined to catch the pair, and with his long legs, it wouldn't take long to nab them. So the boy cast the first of the spells. He turned himself into a pond and his sister into a minnow!
A moment later, the ogre rushed up, saw what had taken place and growled:“If only I had a fishing line! I'd catch and eat that little minnow. I'll run and fetch one!” and off he went.
The two children turned back into their normal selves and started to run again. But the ogre was soon right behind them. He was just about to lay hands on them, when the boy cast the second spell. He turned himself into a shrine and his sister into an angel painted on the wall.
The ogre would have loved to kick the shrine to bits, but he thought of a better idea. He shouted, “I'll burn you down instead!” and ran to gather some firewood.
Before he could return, the children were off again. They ran and ran, 'till they were almost exhausted. Just as the ogre was about to grab them, the boy, working a third spell, turned himself and his sister into grains of corn that mingled with thousands and thousands of other grains on the threshing floor.
The ogre exclaimed, “You think you can beat me with my own spells, but I'm far more cunning than you!” and he turned into a cockerel that hurriedly began to peck all the grains. A second before being pecked, the boy turned into a fox, pounced on the cockerel, and gobbled him up!
Now that the ogre was gone, the relieved boy and girl were able to return home to their very worried parents.